We also know it as the very nutritious AVOCADO!! Avocados are packed with many health providing compounds and nutrients. There are many different varieties but I like the Hass avocado the best. Avocado’s are on the clean 15 list which means you don’t have to worry so much if they are organic or not. But always wash your produce very well regardless.
The avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree. Most people think fruits must be sweet, but that’s not always the case. Avocados are not alone as a non-typical fruit. There are many others and we will save that for another blog.
I want to make a little deviation from our subject of avocados. Tomato’s are also a fruit, technically that is. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on March 3rd, 1883 that, for purposes of the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, tomatoes are vegetables. There decision was based purely on the fact that tomatos are used most often in a meal and not dessert. Not to be out done in the way of government over-site and crazy decision-making, in 2011 Congress essentially declared a school cafeteria slice of cheese pizza equivalent to a serving of vegetables. They said it qualified as equal to a serving of vegetables which is 1/2 cup even though the pizza only had 1/8 cup of tomato paste. This was brought about by pressure from lobbyist for 2 big agricultural companies. Yes a vegetable, what a colossal blunder! Really, cheese pizza a vegetable!
Back to avocados.
Wally, wait Avocado’s are high in fat and calories and fat and calories, well makes us fat. Non-sense, fat does not make us fat! If you have been following me for very long you know that sugar is what makes us fat. We need fat in our diet but we want to consume heart healthy fats like those in an avocado. Fat is essential for the absorption of many nutrients, it is satisfying and filling. Avocado’s have mostly monounsaturated fats which are the very heart healthy type of fat. Up to 50% of our calories could come from healthy fats and we would be healthier overall.
Avocados are rich in fiber, one of the highest fiber content foods and we know fiber is very important for our health. One of the types of fiber in avocados is soluble fiber, which feeds the good bacteria in our gut. Fiber also helps keep us regular, which is important for moving toxic materials out of our bodies.
Because of the fat and fiber in avocados, they may help with weight loss. In one study, people were split into groups. One group was instructed to eat a meal that contained avocado, the other a similar meal without avocado. Then they were asked a series of questions related to hunger and satiety. The people eating the avocado felt 23% more satisfied and had a 28% lower desire to eat over the next 5 hours. Now, certainly this is one study and hardly scientific but it does show that for some people the fiber and fat content will help curb appetite which may lead to weight loss.
Avocados have minimal taste, which makes them great to make soups, thicken sauces and smoothies and create healthy spreads to replace mayonnaise. Avocados are rich in fiber and very healthy monounsaturated fats. Which make them satisfying and filling. The fat in avocado’s help our body absorb and use antioxidants from the carotenoid family better, up to 6 times better in fact! Avocados are rich in many antioxidants from both the carotenoid and flavonoids family. Avocado’s are rich in phytosterols which studies show help lower LDL or the bad cholesterol and raise HDL or the good cholesterol.
They are richer in potassium than bananas and loaded with many B Vitamins.
- Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
- Folate: 20% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
- They also provide smaller amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
When you look at the overall benefits of the avocado we can without a doubt state:
- Provide heart health benefits
- Provide cardiovascular health benefits
- Provide anti-inflammatory effects
- Help balance blood sugar levels
- Help balance our gut flora
- Help keep our digestive tract clean
- Help boost immune function
- Help our skin stay soft
- Help lower cholesterol and triglycerides
- Provide anti-oxidants that protect our skin, eyes and brain
- May help reduce appetite
Tips on eating avocados
The silky flesh of an avocado can turn brown very quickly from oxidation. You can slow this down greatly by squeezing or mixing a little lime juice (may favorite with avocados) or lemon juice with it as soon as you open it or mash it up.
The best way to peel an avocado is what the California Avocado Commission has called the “nick and peel” method. In this method, you actually end up peeling the avocado with your hands in the same way that you would peel a banana. It’s easy. The first step in the nick-and-peel method is to cut into the avocado lengthwise, producing two long avocado halves that are still connected in the middle by the seed. Next you take hold of both halves and twist them in opposite directions until they naturally separate. At this point, remove the seed and cut each of the halves lengthwise to produce long quartered sections of the avocado. You can use your thumb and index finger to grip the edge of the skin on each quarter and peel it off, just as you would do with a banana skin. The final result is a peeled avocado that contains most of that dark green outermost flesh, which provides you with the best possible phytonutrient richness from the pulp portion of the avocado. Source http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5
How to select an avocado
Just grab one and squeeze, but gently! If you squeeze a ripe one too hard get ready for a handful of avocado mush! A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado is slightly soft but should have no dark sunken spots or cracks. Hold the avocado very gently in your palm and begin to press very gently against its surface. A ripe avocado will yield to very gentle pressure, without feeling squishy. Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are ripe. Once ripe, they can be kept refrigerated for up to a week.
Avocado’s are great for you, can be used in a variety of ways and take little preparation. Give them a try and make them a part of your diet!!
My favorite sandwich spread, mash up an avocado with lime juice, a pinch of cumin, sea salt, black pepper, spread on a sandwich with tomato, spinach, sprouts, sauteed portobello mushroom (onion optional) and enjoy!
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
The contents of this blog is not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.